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Pinay filmmaker Maria Diane Ventura makes international directorial debut
Posted on September 28, 2020Email To Friend    Print Version

MANILA -- From making award-winning music videos to acting as executive producer in sold-out arena concerts featuring Asian rock artists, Maria Diane Ventura shifted her focus into the world of film.

Now she has ventured into the international film market and recently came out with her full-length directorial debut, the tragic German drama, “Deine Farbe (Your Color),” featuring young actors Jannik Schumann and Nyamandi Adrian.

In the 90-minute “Deine Farbe,” which Ventura also produced, Schumann and Adrian play two childhood friends who dauntlessly leave their small town in Berlin and venture into the big city in Barcelona, hoping to earn big bucks.

Ventura's critically acclaimed short film, “The Rapist,” was cited among the best short films in Southeast Asia, while “Awaken,” an exploration of dream states and altered consciousness, earned her the Best Director trophy at the International Film Festival Manhattan (IFFM) in New York and Best Narrative feature writing at the World Cinema in Brazil in 2016. 

With those awards, Ventura only proved that she has made her dream turn to reality. “I dream of making films in places whose culture differs from my own,” Ventura said. “Ultimately, I want to prove that despite our fundamental differences, emotional experiences are universal."

“I want my work to be a testament to my belief that barriers are illusory and unity is attainable if we approach every idea and disparity with tolerance and acceptance.”

Last October, “Deine Farbe" premiered to a sold-out crowd at the 53rd Internationale Hofer Filmtage Film Festival in Bavaria, Germany. That festival, informally tagged as “House of Films” (HOF) by veteran German filmmaker Wim Winders, is said to be one of the most important cinema events in Germany.

HOF has been associated with Winders himself, a major figure in new German cinema, who directed “Paris, Texas” (1984) and “Wings of Desire” (1987). HOF is also strongly tagged with director Peter Jackson, who helmed the best-selling “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, based on the novels of J.R.R. Tolkien.

“Deine Farbe” will also be screened at the second Diorama International Film Festival and Market in New Delhi, India, with 19 other entries in the international diorama category and will compete in 21 award categories. International exhibition is slated within the year.

Ventura filmed “Deine Farbe” in Berlin and Barcelona, Spain. At the time she was drafting the screenplay, she had not been to Barcelona yet and had been to Berlin only briefly. Admittedly, she had no personal preference or connection to both cities.

“Originally, I was set to shoot in the US because that’s where I am based,” she said. “I guess it was not so much the relevance of the location, but the feelings of displacement and isolation that (main characters) Karl and Albert were going through that made me want to write their story and ultimately, make the film.”

Having recently moved to New York, Ventura had the same feeling when Karl and Albert uprooted from Berlin to start a new life in Barcelona. “Shooting the film in Germany and finding myself in yet another country with a culture very different from my own, made me realize that we are all Albert and Karl somehow. We have been lost, rebellious and desperate for meaning and purpose at some point.”

She admits the psycho-social aspect of “Deine Farbe” is already “convoluted,” in a way, that it is a film within a film. “What I really wanted to touch on is the cognitive dissonance in people’s relationship with social media and reality TV,” Ventura explained.

“Albert pointed out that authenticity is lost when one knows they are being watched. He was even initially repelled by the idea of sharing their private moments in public through video, shaming Karl and calling his friend a ‘narcissist’ for doing so. Eventually, he found himself more comfortable revealing himself to strangers through that medium, rather than confiding to his life-long friend.”

Years back, the music promoter-turned-filmmaker was told by a friend from the industry that she would never make it as a filmmaker in her country, even less likely anywhere else, because she is a woman and a minority. That she did not also have the means and resources to produce a film sounded really disappointing.

Diane Ventura and 'Deine Farbe' director of photography Hilarion Banks with lead stars Nyamandi Adrian (left) and Jannik Schumann
However, what she heard did not discourage Ventura, the former wife of pop-rock singer-songwriter Ely Buendia. 

“I’m not saying I’ve made it now,” she said. “I’m just glad I still pursued my dreams. I just wish the same for all, to not allow any perceived inequality or impediment to get in the way of going after what they truly want. Fight for it.”

She continued: “Meanwhile, if we ever find ourselves in any position of privilege, in whatever shape or form, I hope we can find it within ourselves to be self-aware and to use whatever influence we have to defend and help those that don’t have the means to start with anything.”

Source: ABS-CBN News

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